Saturday, December 15, 2007

Duke Hires David Cutcliffe

So sayeth the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Raleigh News & Observer. Official announcements and festivities are to take place later today.

I have a mixed reaction on this one...the soon-to-be former Tennessee offensive coordinator - part deux - obviously did quite well during his 1999-2004 head coaching gig at Ole Miss (44-29 overall, 25-23 SEC), and his inexplicable firing after his one poor season in '04 has blown up horrifically in the Rebels' collective face. Nonetheless, just how much of the Rebs' success under Cutcliffe had to do with the likes of Eli Manning and Deuce McAllister is a matter of debate. There are certainly no Manning or McAllister types in Durham, and it will be quite a chore to get that level of talent to consider the Blue Devils. Still, Cutcliffe is regarded as a supreme groomer of quarterback talent, having tutored both Mannings and most recently turning Erik Ainge into a likely high-round NFL draft pick. How Cutcliffe tinkers with current Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis will be something to watch throughout the 2008 season.

I also have to wonder if Cutcliffe has a dynamic enough personality for the task at hand. But perhaps that's overrated...Ted Roof had personality and enthusiasm out the wazoo.

Regardless, for the Blue Devils to snag a highly respected coordinator from an SEC power - and one who had a solid head coaching record at another SEC program prior to that - is impressive. It's not a home run hire, but I'd say it's a solid, stand-up triple.

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